Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Wesley repelled Sophy from Holy Communion out of revenge"

Thur. 11 Aug 1738. Mr. Causton came to my house, and among many other sharp words said, ‘Make an end of this matter. Thou hadst best. My niece to be used thus! I have drawn the sword, and I will never sheathe it till I have satisfaction.’
Soon after he added, ‘Give the reasons of your repelling her, before the whole congregation.’ I answered, ‘Sir, if you insist upon it, I will; and so you may be pleased to tell her.’ He said, ‘Write to her, and tell her so yourself.’ I said, ‘I will’; and after he went I wrote as follows:
To Mrs. Sophia Williamson.
At Mr. Causton’s request I write once more. The rules whereby I proceed are these:
‘So many as intend to be partakers of the Holy Communion shall signify their names to the Curate, at least some time the day before.’ This you did not do.
‘And if any of these . . . have done any wrong to his neighbours by word or deed, so that the congregation be thereby offended, the Curate . . . shall advertise him that in any wise he presume not to come to the Lord’s Table until he hath openly declared himself to have truly repented.’
If you offer yourself at the Lord’s Table on Sunday I will advertise you (as I have done more than once) wherein you ‘have done wrong’. And when you have ‘openly declared yourself to have truly repented’ I will administer to you the mysteries of God.
August 11, 1737                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     John Wesley

Mr. Delamotte carrying this, Mr. Causton said, among many other warm sayings, ‘I am the person that am injured. The affront is offered to me, and I will espouse the cause of my niece. I am ill used, and I will have satisfaction, if it be to be had in the world.’
Which way this satisfaction was to be had I did not yet conceive. But on Friday and Saturday it began to appear, Mr. Causton declaring to many persons that Mr. Wesley had repelled Sophy from the Holy Communion, purely out of revenge, because he had made proposals of marriage to her, which she rejected, and married Mr. Williamson.
I could not but observe the gracious providence of God in the course of Lessons all this week. On Monday evening God spake to us in these words: ‘Call to remembrance the former days, [. . .] in which you endured a great fight of afflictions; partly whilst ye were made a gazing-stock, both by reproaches and afflictions, and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. . . . Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God ye might receive the promise.’
The Evening Lesson on Tuesday was the eleventh of the Hebrews, in reading which I was more particularly encouraged by his example who ‘chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.’
The Lesson on Wednesday began with these words: ‘Wherefore, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight . . . and run with patience the race that is set before us; looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.’
In the Thursday Lesson were these comfortable words: ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.’
The words of St. James, read on Friday, were, ‘Blessed is the man that endureth temptation.’ And those on Saturday, ‘My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . with respect of persons.’
I was only afraid lest those who were weak should ‘be turned out of the way’; at least so far as to forsake the public ‘assembling of themselves together’. But I feared where no fear was. God took care of this also. So that on Sunday 14, more were present at the morning prayers than had been for some months before. Many of them observed those words in the First Lesson, ‘Set Naboth on high among the people; and set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him.’

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